Sunday, February 5, 2012

Celebrating Giftedness

I attended a seminar yesterday on Parenting Gifted Children organized by the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. It was a whole day seminar held at the UP College of Education Training Center. I learned about the event through a homeschool group in Facebook that I’m a part of. As soon as I read the post, I got excited and asked for more details until I finally got to register for the seminar a few days before the announced date.



I was eager to learn and at the same time thrilled by the opportunity for my son to enjoy playing outdoors in UP. He enjoyed playing there the last time we went and he looks forward to it. I want to encourage him to be sporty and I saw this as a great opportunity to feed his interest and excitement to go back there and play.
 

But we had a slight concern. Our newborn baby, Mateo, breastfeeds from me exclusively. This is the first time that I’m attending a whole day seminar. I’ve been facilitating meetings after giving birth but they only last around a couple of hours. After much thought and planning, my husband and I finally devised a plan. I will attend the seminar and Mateo will breastfeed from me during breaks since we have short breaks in the morning and the afternoon and a lunch break. I will also try to express some milk so that my husband and kids can visit my parents during the day while I’m attending the seminar. My husband and I listed what we needed to bring for our trip because they are quite many. Since we had kids, going out of the house especially with an infant has become one big production number! And so we were set! We planned to leave the house around 7:30 am since the seminar will start at 9 am.
 

Alas! We woke up late… Correction, I woke up past our desired wake up time because I had been breastfeeding through the night and early morning and the next thing I knew after Mateo’s very early morning feeding was that it was already 7 am! We rushed everyone and left our house around 8 am.


On our way to the seminar venue, I kept praying that I would be on time for I did not want to miss anything. I was really excited to learn as much as I can. I wanted to understand giftedness more, learn better parenting styles especially the best parenting styles for gifted children and how to cultivate positive sibling relationships. These were the topics for the seminar. By God’s grace, we arrived just in time! I was even glad to see that the organizers had set up a play area for the kids since I informed them about my son. And yes, as we have planned, Yanthy was able to play soccer at the Sunken garden and he enjoyed running in the grass. After the seminar, I got to run with him at the Sunken Garden as well and showed him the UP School of Economics where I studied before.
 

The seminar started with a talk by Dr. Leticia Ho of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, Inc. (PCGE). She talked about understanding giftedness. Her talk was short but it kept me on my toes all throughout, not wanting to miss any word that she’d say. She shared a number of definitions of giftedness mostly by Western experts then ended by sharing her own definition. I liked everything she said. In fact, I wanted her to talk some more and explain the many things she shared but there was no more time. Among the things she shared, what I liked the most was the PCGE’s paradigm for giftedness which included passion, excellence, intelligence/creativity and values. This was illustrated with a triangle with passion, excellence and intelligence/creativity, each one on a side of the triangle and values at the middle. It simply means that all these are factors for giftedness but the person’s values make the most impact or the biggest difference. It can either make or break the gifted person. I also liked the PCGE’s objective of helping the gifted and their parents in understanding them and their gift and in helping the gifted nourish their gift so that they can one day make a difference in our country with the gifts they have been blessed with.
 

The succeeding talks were not the kind of talks I expected but I was delighted to hear them. Most of what the speakers said were things I already knew but I was glad to hear them again in that setting because I felt that God was confirming the things that I know and want to implement in raising our children, not just my son, Yanthy, who was assessed to be a potentially gifted child at age 2. The speakers for the topic Cultivating Positive Sibling Relationships and Enhancing Parenting Style were Atty. Jehremiah Asis and his wife, Katherine Asis. They talked about the importance of vision, assignment and destiny in our lives especially to the gifted child. What struck me the most in their presentation was when Jerry said that one of our important roles as parents of gifted children is to teach our gifted children that his/her giftedness came from Someone and that Someone is God. Therefore, we need to help our gifted children discover the Giver’s purpose for his/her giftedness. This way, we take the focus from the gifted person but back to God who is the source of that gift. I have long known this principle/truth and I have been living this out in my life since I became a renewed Catholic in college when I was studying in UP. Hearing this truth yesterday enabled me to view that truth in the eyes of a parent of a gifted child this time.
 

I was happy to discover that what I’m currently doing with my potentially gifted son is right. Since he is a musically gifted boy who learns to sing songs fast and who likes playing with musical instruments, my husband and I encourage him to use his gifts in the service of the Church. And because Yanthy already knows a lot like the alphabet, numbers, reading, spelling and counting, he enthusiastically teaches these things to his baby brother by reading to him. As we discussed yesterday, I realized that truly, we need to teach our children, especially the gifted ones that their gifts are not meant for their glory but for God’s glory. Whenever we receive praise for our accomplishments, we need to give back the glory to God and point people to God who enabled us to accomplish great things through our gifts. We need to teach and remind them often that our gifts were given to us by God so that we can bless those around us and we can be God’s partners in making this world more like heaven.
 

Another thing that I liked was what Jerry shared about Joseph, son of Jacob or popularly known as Joseph, the dreamer. He said that not all of us are made to be Josephs. But that doesn’t mean that the assignments of non-Josephs are less important than the assignments of the Josephs of this world. He also said that the Josephs need to be humble and recognize that he would not be able to do his Big assignment if not for the others who do the other assignments he is not capable of doing. In the same way, the non-Josephs need to be humble to recognize and accept that God did not create everyone to be Josephs. Thus, the role of non-Josephs is to enable the Josephs to solve the Big problems that God wants them to solve. Beautiful analogy!


I thought that I needed to go to the seminar yesterday for my children’s sake alone. As I grew to understand gifted children, I came to understand myself as well. I’m no longer a child but listening to Dr. Ho talk about the qualities of gifted children and share about the gifted children she knew, made me understand myself better and my behaviors as a child. I remember that I would usually get perfect scores in my tests and I would cry whenever I made a mistake. I remember how I struggled whenever I didn’t do things right because I was a perfectionist. I remember the first time I failed a test since I entered school and I was already in UP then. I remember when I didn’t graduate in college on time and how God humbled me with that experience. And I also remember how I felt when I first published a book together with a group of other writers and when I published the book I authored. I was not assessed or diagnosed by experts to be gifted when I was a child and there were no experts who guided me aside from my parents. But I’m happy that by God’s grace I have discovered my gift in communication particularly writing and that He has led me to use these gifts to make a difference in the lives of the people around me.
 

Moreover, I was happy to discover that God led me there yesterday to stir in me once more my passion for the call/assignment He has given me. As I was listening to Jerry and Katherine, I grew to appreciate and love more my vocation, my current assignment of being a mother to my children and proclaiming God’s Word and goodness through writing and leading a community of believers. This realization was further highlighted during the last presentation and the tool shared by Alberto Fernandez in his talk on Grand Parenting as an APOstolate. The two most striking things I read from the tool called Connecting the VAD (vision, assignment, destiny) Dots were the following: first, what you love the most is a clue to your assignment; second, what grieves you is a clue to something you are assigned to heal. The other statements in the handout or tool he shared were very beautiful but most are already familiar with me. These two made the biggest impact to me yesterday as I read them.
 

I really love sharing with others how God has been good to me through writing or giving talks or testimonies and I love sharing my experiences to the youth and the working professionals. I also love having plenty of time being a hands-on mother to my kids. I felt that hearing those things yesterday was God’s way of affirming me of my present calling or assignment. Having experienced this yesterday, I now have renewed zeal in evangelizing people starting in my very own home. My inspirations yesterday were confirmed when I read and meditated the readings for today.
 
I could relate with St. Paul when he said in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!" God's Word burns in my heart and I can't help but share this fire and His light.
 

The Bible verse and reflection featured today in the devotional Didache also struck me. I felt God encouraging me to push through with my plan to organize an evangelistic event to inspire and empower the youth in our community and in our parish. Jesus' words in the gospel answered the questions in my heart and mind very clearly, "We must go on to the other villages around here. I have to preach in them also, because that is why I came." (Mark 1:38) Now, I know God's purpose for making me and my family stay where we currently live right now in spite of my efforts and desire to sell our property. He still has work for me to do.
 
I thank God for the many insights that flood my mind right now as I write and for the many experiences I’ve had in the past that will serve as my teaching tools for my sons and the people God would entrust to me. I’m excited to learn more as PCGE promised to hold more seminars and organize support groups for parents of gifted children. Yesterday was a celebration for our family not only for successfully going out of the house for a whole day and spending quality time with each other but also because of discovering and rediscovering the giftedness in each one of us. Praise be to God who made us! Let me end by sharing one of my three year old son's favorite worship songs which he learned months before he turned three. It's entitled Only a God Like You by Tommy Walker.


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4 comments:

  1. Dear Mommy TG,

    We are so happy that you have gained much and retained much from your exposure to the seminar conducted on Giftedness.

    The title of your book, "When My Bride Groom Comes" is quite interesting. I haven't read it but I am stirred by it because of the parallel a bride makes in preparing herself for her wedding day and how the church/child of God must prepare herself for the coming of her Groom Jesus Christ. This paradigm is pivotal in changing one's way of living life. I wish we had time to talk about it or give a talk on it one day.

    Keep up your blog. You are doing a wonderful service for the Kingdom of God. This may be one of the dots in your VAD.

    God bless you,

    Alberto and Gina Fernandez

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  2. Thank you Alberto & Gina. I was really blessed by what your family shared during the seminar.

    My book was written not only to inspire women to prepare for marriage but also for our Ultimate Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. I would love to share more about my book to the youth given the opportunity. It was an assignment I received from God to write this book while I was still single.

    Today, I continue to reach out to the youth to encourage them to offer their season of singleness to God and use it to grow in character and develop their God-given gifts.

    God bless!

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  3. Hi! This blog is what I have looking for. Really great post :) I have a possibly gifted toddler too. And I was hoping you can direct me on where I can get updates on seminars re gifted children. I would love to attend one too. I checked the PCGE link and it seems inactive already. Thanks much!

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Jing! So sorry I just read this today. You can follow PCGE in their Facebook Page. They have parenting forums now.

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